Exploring France’s sunniest city – Sanary-sur-Mer

Nestled halfway between St. Tropez and Marseille, Sanary-sur-Mer, France plays the role of the idyllic Provencal retreat to perfection. The palm-lined harbor holds a flotilla of brightly painted traditional pointus (fishing boats), back-dropped by pastel houses and a Romanesque watchtower. Fishermen still peddle their catch directly from their boats each morning, with the daily market outside the town hall providing the additional necessities for our delicious home-cooked dinner in our apartment on the Ship. The half-dozen durade fish that we bought from a fishermen had just been pulled out of his fishing net! He was gracious and cleaned and filleted the fish for us; they were delicious!

sanary-1Sailing into the harbor of Sanary-sur-Mer, the Gothic Revival church, Eglise Saint Nazaire’s bell tower dominates the skyline

Walking along the shops fronting the harbor late in the day, we came across a wedding in the Eglese Saint Nazaire; it was entertaining to watch everyone throw rice as the bride and groom exited the church and to see the locals celebrating in town.

sanary-2Picturesque small, colorful boats in the harbor of Sanary-sur-Mer
sanary-3Colorful boats tied up along Quai Wilson at the inner harbor

From the inner harbor we hiked up and over a hill about 1 mile (1.6 km) to the overlook atop Plage du Portissol, a large crescent-shaped stretch of sand that is very popular with families – our grandsons loved it.
Before an afternoon of swimming and building sand castles on the beach, we had a delicious seafood lunch with our family sitting under umbrellas at O Petit Monde on the southern end of Plage du Portissol (Portissol Beach).
We learned that Sanury-sur-Mer is probably the sunniest place in France, with an average of only 61 days of rain, mostly in the winter, which is comparable to Sicily. Sanary-sur-Mer is also known as the birthplace of modern diving, for it was here that Jacques Cousteau, Phillipe Taillez and Frederic Dumas tested and perfected the aqua-lung conceived by Cousteau and Emile Gagnon.

sanary-6The harbor is chock full of sailboats at Sanary-sur-Mer
sanary-7Our tender departing Sanary-sur-Mer was in the middle of quite a lot of boat traffic (in both directions)

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